Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Author Interview ~ Kelli Maine

To celebrate the release of her new book, Taken by Storm, Kelli Maine has done an interview for The Romance Cover.

Kelli is the author of the Give and Take Series and The Submission of Alistair Ingram.

What inspired you to write your first book? 
I’m going to admit it. I’m going to write it here. You ready?

Twilight.
I read it and it was book crack and I figured if SMeyer could do it with little kids, then so could I.
Taken wasn’t anywhere near the first book I wrote though.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This is a hard one because I would want a mentor that understands how I write, but someone who stretches how I write and challenges me. I guess I already have that in my agent, Emmanuelle Morgen. She might not be an author, but she does everything a great mentor does!

What do you do when you come down with a case of the infamous ʺwriterʹs blockʺ?
Start something new. I might get one page or one chapter on a new project, but usually I need to re-focus my mind on something else. Then what I’m stuck on works itself out.

When you are not writing what do you enjoy doing?
Sleeping. :-)

What is your favourite Movie at the moment?
My favourite movie will always be The Big Lebowski.

What is your favourite song at the moment?
Even though it’s getting kind of old, I have to sing and dance around when Thrift Shop comes on.

Who is your favourite book boyfriend?
Merrick Rocha, of course! :-)

If you could have only one book whilst stranded on a desert Island, what would it be?
Jane Eyre

And now we'd like to talk about your books. Where did you get the idea of the Taken Series?
It’s a combination of things, but the main characters and kidnapping came from the first book I wrote, Taken By Seven. It was a paranormal romance that never saw the light of day.

How did you come up with the name Turtle Tear Resort - does it mean something to you?
I made it up as part of the island’s history. In Taken, Merrick explains it to Rachael like this:

“There’s a legend,” you say starting down the stairs again, “that Ponce de León while searching the Everglades for the Fountain of Youth took a Native American lover and kept her on this island. He promised her when he found the fountain, they would marry, and they’d have children together.” You stop to make a point. “I’ve read theories that Ponce was obsessed with finding the fountain to cure his impotence.”

            After a shrug, you continue. We’re almost to the bottom of the stairs to the grand entryway. “Ponce never found the fountain and never returned to her. This ties in to the name Turtle Tear because when sea turtles lay eggs, they secrete a gel-like substance out of their eyes to clear the sand, but it looks like tears. The tears of turtles laying eggs on the island became connected to the childless lover of Ponce de León alone and abandoned here until her death.”

What about the idea for The Submission of Alistair Ingram?
I wanted to write about a famous playboy who meets his match in and out of the bedroom. Black Betty gave him more than he expected!

Your style of writing, Second person, is different, what made you decide to write your books this way?
The POV Taken is written in was inspired by Stolen by Lucy Christopher. I adore Stolen and how it’s written like a letter in second person.

Which is your favourite book you've written and why?
I don’t know if I can pick a favourite. Taken will always be special to me, but my upper young adult/new adult book coming out Sept. 3, Leap Of Faith, under my real name, Jamie Blair, holds a special place in my heart. Taken By Storm came along and well, took me by storm. Then there’s Alistair and Black Betty and I have others that I haven’t released into the world yet. It’s hard to pick one because they’re all different and their stories are part of me. 
 
Who is your favourite character from your books and why?
I have a character who’s a 19-year-old boy. He’s in an unfinished book that was one I started while in a block writing a different one. He’s foul mouthed and cocky and puts others down. He’s very much like Judd Nelson’s character, John Bender, in The Breakfast Club. I adore him.

How about your least favourite character? 

Faith’s mom in Leap Of Faith. She’s awful.

If you could change one scene from one of your books, which one would it be and why?
I wouldn’t change anything. As an author, you could pick apart your work forever, but there comes a time when you have to step back and say, “Good enough!” If you don’t, you never publish and move on to the next. So, I don’t look back and regret any scenes or wish they were different.

Lets talk about Taken by Storm.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
With Taken By Storm, I managed to put myself in an impossible situation. This story HAD to be written in MJ’s POV. I tried it from Rachael’s and it was just flat. While she and Merrick are in the whole book, it’s MJ’s story and he had to be the one to tell it. But, it’s a continuation of the series that up to this point was told by Rachael. MJ wasn’t around for any of it. Going into Taken By Storm, MJ doesn’t even know Merrick and just met Rachael hours before. He’s never been to Turtle Tear or know of it. He’s picking up the story blind to all that has come before him in the series. This book was the hardest book I’ve ever written, but I love how it turned out. It’s perfect to me and exactly what I wanted it to be.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The scene between MJ and Maddie in the tree house when MJ lets all of his frustration out and shows Maddie how wrecked she left him.

I have a thing for angsty books. I like reading and writing them. I like deep, raw emotions and conflict.

What do you think readers will like most about this book?
MJ. :-)

And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book:

This is in Maddie’s POV from chapter 1 of Taken By Storm.

She’d been so lucky to meet Talan. After graduating from Michigan State and coming home to Sandy Springs for what she thought was forever, only to be run off by Enzo Roach, she was devastated when she moved back to East Lansing. She and Talan hadn’t started dating right away. She told him about MJ, about how she’d had to break up with him, although she didn’t dare tell Talan—or anyone—why she left Sandy Springs.

They became great friends first, then slowly, their relationship developed into more.  He was perfect. Loving and loyal, caring, hard-working. She never had to worry about the ground shifting under her feet with him. He was stable and their relationship was what good marriages were based on.

Maddie curled up on the couch with her head on the armrest. She even liked Talan’s family, and from what she knew from her married friends, that never happened.

Clearly, there were more pros than cons when it came to her decision. Any sane woman would jump at the chance to marry a man like Talan. So, what was she doing wasting time back in Sandy Springs, Georgia at the Rocha Estate?

Don’t answer that question, she told herself. It was of the rhetorical variety that had plagued her mind on repeat for the past year and a half. Every question came down to the same, one-word, one-name answer.

MJ.

One last question Dawn is madly in love with Merrick and wants to know can she go to Turtle Tear Resort? ;-)
YES! And when she gets there, have her send me directions! I promise I won’t steal Merrick from her, as long as I can have Beck.

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